A collection of historical and genalogical records
Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) escaped to New York as a young man from a slave owner and dedicated his whole life to the struggle against slavery. Though born a slave, Douglass learned to read and write in secrecy. He published his famous autobiography depicting his life as a slave and later traveled around America and Europe making speeches on abolition. Douglass served as a consultant to President Lincoln during the Civil War.
“Frederick Douglass famously said ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress,’ and today’s dedication of the Frederick Douglass Memorial reflects the monumental effort undertaken to build a lasting legacy to a great American hero in the middle of a bustling intersection,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “We hope that New Yorkers will gaze upon this stunning memorial ... and be inspired by the great civil rights leader.”
Kenneth B. Morris, the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington, spoke at the event representing the Douglass family. He described Douglass as a family man, a father, and a grandfather instead of a historical figure in books, and how the memorial will influence the children of New York.
“One of my favorite quotes from Frederick Douglass is, 'It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,'” said Morris. “This statue allows young kids who might not know who he is to ask 'who is this man?' and an adult can tell them this is one of America's greatest heroes, and his experience will be a source of inspiration for our children.”
“The Frederick Douglass sculpture by Gabriel Koren and ornamented fountain by Algernon Miller together offer a dynamic interpretation of an extraordinary historic figure,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin.
The intersection of West 110th Street and Eighth Avenue, also Frederick Douglass Boulevard, was named after Douglass in 1950.
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